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Mid-Week Meditation

it is well

 

Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.


Is it well with your soul?

Take some time to read this Psalm of David and notice imagery or certain phrases that stick out to you. Think on these things and invite God to speak to your soul.

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It’s been a few months since I’ve written and for my readers who have checked in on me, I am so thankful for your kind words of encouragement! I decided I needed a break from social media and writing in general in order to process a few events that took place in my life. I needed this time to work through some negative emotions, forgive people, and most importantly let God heal my heart.

I don’t want this to be a typical girl post ( what I mean by that is a simply a venting of emotions). What I hope to by sharing my experience is what God taught me during this season of my life. Also, I want to offer some encouragement as I believe this type of experience I am about to share is relatively common, but not so much talked about.

A few months ago, I went through a season of betrayal. The type of betrayal I experienced is the type that has to do with friendship. I walked in fellowship with these women for years and we shared our lives together. There is such joy and safety in having these relationships.

Before everything happened, I prayed for God to reveal to me who my true friends were. I prayed this because I was beginning to sense something that I couldn’t really pinpoint, a vague disconnection.

**To be sensitive to parties involved, I will not be going in to the context of what specifically took place. I have been guarding my heart against bitterness, and do not want to slander anybody as “love covers a multitude of sin.”  Also, I have forgiven each of these ladies, as Christ has forgiven me. In addition, Jesus tells us to love our enemies and to live peaceably with everyone.

I will, however, be honest about how this betrayal effected me and why we as image bearers of Christ need to make sure that we handle conflict in a God-honoring and healthy way.

This all started with gossip and a rumor.  Being honest and real here, I’m not new to this. While I was growing up, I was constantly the center of gossip/ rumors. From the ages of 7-12 were a nightmare for me. I would come home crying every single day from school. It got so bad that my mom had to have meetings with other moms at school. Talk about childhood drama. I believe it was because I exhibited a type of independence that a lot of women do not develop until they hit their teens. Also, having a twin brother made me somewhat of a tomboy. I wasn’t the a sit-around-and-paint-nails girl.  By the way, I love doing my hair and makeup now– it just wasn’t something I enjoyed at a younger age. I liked to play outside, climbing trees, riding bikes, anything but being indoors. SO, I was me and that was different, and other girls who were insecure with others being different couldn’t handle that. We’ve all heard stories like this. Maybe even have participated in gossip ourselves. Its very common. There have been scholarly articles written about how this occurs as part of female development!

Back to the betrayal. Close people to me spread rumors, gossip, and I was hurt. I couldn’t believe that after all of the years I sat with these women that they would do this. I really tried to deny the fact that this occurred, until I had multiple people in my life who heard this rumor genuinely reach out asking me how they could help.

It was definetely  more than awkward and uncomfortable to explain to these caring people that unfortunately what they heard was a rumor.


I knew that if I had any chance of salvaging friendship, some ownership on their end would need to be taken. The foundation of trust that we had was pretty much destroyed. In order to have a healthy friendship, a foundation of honestly needs to be established. I assumed going into a conversation with these women, that I would receive apologies and everything would go back to normal. I wasn’t prepared for what took place.

Because there was no ownership of their sin, even when graciously confronted with truth and a willingness to understand, I knew the friendship needed to have space. The conversation itself didn’t go well, and left me feeling pretty empty.

Looking back from that moment over a year later ( yes it has been a long season of the Lord dealing with me). He has taught me how to love my enemies.

Instead of avoiding these women,  ( which I did in the beginning), the Lord challenged me to serve them. I really didn’t want to, and it took supernatural stregnth to do what the Lord asked. He reminded me of this passage many times:

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Matthew 5:43-38.

For example,  the instant someone betrays us, our instict is to go into protection mode. We shut these people out of our lives, and generally don’t want to do anything with them. It is natural and safe. But what if we allowed God to work in that- instead of trying to control our boundary lines, can we let go? Can we allow Jesus to challenge us in those areas of our lives, too?

I did. Jesus challenged me to have these women over for tea in my home, and serve them a meal. My reaction to this was at first anger, then pleading, and finally submission to God’s will. I asked and He answered, so it was on me at this point!

We lovingly invite our friends over for coffee and tea, serve them food, and generally spend time with them. Do we do this with our enemies?…No. This is what the Lord was calling me to.

He wanted me to treat this women with love, respect, kindness, and servanthood just like everyone else. I baked the cookies, poured the tea, and prayed.  With a knock on the door, I invited them in. Did it feel good? In the moment, not really. But I believe the Lord rewarded my faithfulness by giving me peace and joy afterwards. I was no longer holding on to bitterness and anger for what these women did. I had a new sense of grace, I wanted to understand them more. I wanted them to feel valued for who they were in Christ, and I believe that God gave me the ability to show them mercy.

Earlier I mentioned how empty I felt during this season. I felt alone, betrayed, and honestly storm-tossed. Who could I trust? Would the next friend I made do the same thing to me? While I felt all these things, Jesus reminded me that He would always be my truest friend and confidant. He knew what type of betrayal I had experienced because He endured the worst kind.

His dearest friends whom he trusted had betrayed him in his hour of greatest need. They fled when trouble came. Some pretended not to know Him.  What was His response? Forgiveness.

When we feel empty and know that we cannot forgive within ourselves, this is where Christ lives in us. He wants us to come to Him and allow Him to be with us in our hour of greatest need.

These verses in particular have brought me comfort and hope during this season:

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
    and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
    and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
 look to Abraham, your father,
    and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
    and I blessed him and made him many.
 The Lord will surely comfort Zion
    and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
    her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
    thanksgiving and the sound of singing,” Isaiah 51:1-3.

This section of Isaiah has to do with salvation for Zion, but it reminded me of the God that I serve- One who is Righteous, a Rock, my Fortress. He is my Comforter who shows me compassion in all of my waste places ( in this case deep betrayals). He promises to restore my joy and gladness!

I’ll be honest, I’m still waiting on the Lord to bring the relationships into my life that I desire, but for now He is my greatest joy and my truest friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jesus- Always by my side

psalm 16.jpg

“Mountains high or valley low

I sing out and remind my soul

I am Yours

I am forever Yours”

                                                                                 I thought I would share something a little more personal today. I’ve seen a lot of “valleys” in my young 24 year old life. I lost my father to cancer when I was six years old, our church community told me my father was “needed in Heaven more than I needed him”, I left church/ God for eleven years out of severe hurt, I have battled two autoimmune diseases,  and had major spinal surgery, all before the age of seventeen, just to name a few.

 While I looked great on the outside and achieved a lot performance wise, I was a mess on the inside. I had nagging questions that kept me awake at night- I thought about my purpose and if there was one, I wondered about God. Why were these things allowed to happen in my life? It wasn’t until I heard the Gospel, and understood what it meant, that my life forever changed.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6

 My life was bigger than the things that happened to me.  For all of those years, I was leaning on my own understanding based on the sum of my ‘terrible’ life events and bad church theology. I blamed God for everything that I believed He allowed to happen. But then a thought entered into my mind. “Why do you blame ME?” In that moment, I was shattered.

I understood that God was GOOD, and he came for all of humanity to be reconciled in relationship to Him, including me.

              Jesus saved my life from the pit, literally. Something changed, I now had hope.  Not just any hope- it didn’t fade based on my temporal circumstances, no matter how bad or good they were.I now believed that God was for me. Things were still rough, and I battled with failing health, but it was different. He was by my side. I wasn’t alone.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you,” John 14:18.

         I’ve also had some mountain high moments-God has never left my family destitute but has provided all that we have needed and more. I was freed from anger and hurt, and saved into an everlasting joy and hope. He healed my body from those diseases, I’ve traveled to India and worshipped alongside brothers and sisters who have forever changed my faith. I met my now husband at church and we married 3 years to the day. These are just a few of the moments I look back on and can see how God intervened in my life and restored it. Even in those low moments, He showed me grace and met me where I was.

He meets us all where we are.

    What are some of your mountain-high or valley-low moments? How have you seen God at work in them? What has He spoken to you?

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Mid-Week Meditation

sweet-grace

With a new semester started this week, I found myself  in need of some extra grace.  So, here is some simple truth for when you are feeling weak: His grace is enough to carry you through but most importantly, it is when He perfects His power and strength- when you are empty and totally surrendered. He will come like the rain, as Hosea puts it. Let His grace sustain you through each and every moment

sweet-grace

“My Strength is made perfect in weakness”

What. A. Relief. 

Isn’t that just like our God? Who uses the weak to lead the strong?

His grace is sufficient.

 

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Mid-Week Meditation

resurrection

Without the resurrection, there would be no hope. Jesus triumphed over the grave and defeated the sting of death! He rose again, victorious! 

I want to encourage you to take some time and meditate on this truth. The resurrection of Jesus wasn’t just to display God’s power, but it is a gift for every one of us as a believer! We have inherited eternal life through the resurrection of Christ and  will forever reign with Him in glory!


resurrection

What are some areas in your life that you can invite God to resurrect? Is it faith, joy, contentment, hope? Ask God and He will supply all of your needs.

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Jesus-Protector and Life Sustainer

rest

Today my husband and I took his car in to get repaired ( thanks nail in tire). We thought it would be a typical patch and we would be on our way. However, there ended up being a heap load of of problems with the car- up to $1200 worth! The repair man was shocked at how unsafe our vehicle was and told us we were seriously lucky, but without repairs he would not let us drive out of his shop. We both looked at each other and knew God has been protecting our lives. Unbeknownst to us, we have been driving around a car that has been unsafe to drive for at least a few months. Thank God for the nail in the tire!

We were a little worried about that $1200 because for a newly-wed couple who are both full-time college students, that’s not really what we wanted savings to go to! However, we know that God will supply all of our needs because he has done so multiple times and is faithful.

We are at peace and just in awe of His protection and provision in our lives.


 

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

I am thankful for Jesus, who took those nails in my place. I am thankful for His constant protection of things that I don’t even know about that are trying to harm my life. I am thankful for my rescuer.

 

What are some ways that God has protected you or your loved ones lives? I would love to hear!

life-sustainer

 

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Christ is Enough

content

Contentment starts in the heart. Christ is the one who brings true contentment that nothing in this world can stand against.

 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” ( Philippians 4:12)

Paul writes that in ANY circumstance he is able to be content. This isn’t because he has a great fruitful ministry for the Lord, is praised by men, or is living the high life by the definition of the world in that time. He’s gone days without food, has been through various trials and persecutions. What is his secret?!  He is in relationship with Christ! Christ is enough for Paul and He should be enough for you and I.

We do not need worldly “things” to bring us contentment. We can get caught up so quickly in the mind trap of comparison or just general ungratefulness. Living with clean water, not worrying about where the next meal will come from, and having a roof over our heads isn’t even guaranteed. Christ didn’t even have a place to lay His head! Yes, we long for “things.” Whether it be that promotion, great group of friends, rock solid marriage, or whatever it is ___________ (fill in the blank). However, these are not needed because Christ is enough. God does give good gifts because He is a good Father. Let’s keep ourselves thankful and humble for what we do have- Christ!

itiswell

 

 

 

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Jesus the Good Shepherd

goodshepherd

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Even so, it is so easy to try to become the Shepherd of my own life. I do this all the time. I try to take back control and cling to my plans and dreams. I  so easily forget about the “green pastures” and “still waters” He has led me to faithfully. I am the sheep that is prone to wander away from the safety of His fold. I hear His voice, He calls me by name. I return to my Shepherd.

“So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” ( John 10:7-18)

I can trust in the Good Shepherd because He laid His life down for me. Every time I doubt and wander, He gently reminds me- I am the sheep. When we think of sheep, they are dependent. They need to be led ALL THE TIME. If you have ever watched a Shepherd, they know their sheep. Each one is not unnoticed. They each have a name and are known. They also know their Shepherd’s voice and come when called. If one is wandering around, it will freeze and cry out for its Shepherd. The Shepherd faithfully seeks out this sheep and returns it to safety.

Oh, Lord, lead me back to You.

There’s a song and the lyrics reminded me of my “sheepness” and my ever present need for my Shepherd.

“All the worries of this world
I will lay them at your feet
Surrender every anxious thought
For perfect peace
Your perfect peace

Oh the loved ones I hold dear
All my hopes and dreams and all my fears
I will choose to trust your name
In everything
With everything

I will look up for there is none above you
I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of all

I will take you at your word
Jesus you have taken hold of me
All my life is in your hands
You’re my strength
You’re my strength

Prince of Peace
Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on you
King of Kings
Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on you

Prince of Peace
Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on you
King of Kings
Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on you

I will look up for there is none above you
I will bow down to tell you that I need you
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of all
I will look back and see that you are faithful
I look ahead believing you are able
Jesus, Lord of all
Jesus, Lord of All

You are Jesus, Lord of All
Our God is Jesus, Lord of All
You are Jesus, Lord of All”

Jesus truly is Lord of All.
I want to encourage you to surrender your hopes, dreams, and plans to the Good Shepherd. Let Him be your guide.